Invasion of Kuwait
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|Invasion of Kuwait|
|Part of the Gulf War|
|Image:Flag of Iraq.svg Republic of Iraq||Image:Flag of Kuwait.svg State of Kuwait|
| Image:Flag of Iraq.svg Saddam Hussein|
Ali Hassan al-Majid
|Image:Flag of Kuwait.svg Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah|
| 100,000 troops |
700 tanks <ref>1990: Iraq invades Kuwait</ref>
|16,000 troops <ref>Kuwait Organization and Mission of the Forces</ref>|
| Kuwaiti estimate: |
human losses N/A
| 20 aircraft lost |
200 KIA<ref>Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait; 1990 (Air War)</ref>
600 POWs <ref>Iraq Invasion & POWs Iraq Invasion & POWs </ref>
|Invasion of Kuwait - Khafji - 73 Easting – Al Busayyah – Phase Line Bullet – Medina Ridge – Wadi al Batin – Norfolk|
The invasion of Kuwait, also known as the Iraq-Kuwait War, was a major conflict between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait which resulted in the 7 month long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait<ref>The Impact on the Economic and Social Fabric Assessing the Costs of Iraq's 1990 Invasion and Occupation of Kuwait – The United Nations Compensation Commission</ref> which subsequently lead to direct military intervention by United States-led forces (see Gulf War). The invasion started on August 2, 1990 and within two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard or escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia.
 Causes of the conflict
 Dispute over the financial debt
Kuwait had heavily funded the 8 year long Iraqi war against Iran. By the time the war ended, Iraq was not in a financial position to repay the $65 billion which it had borrowed from Kuwait to finance its war<ref></ref>. Kuwait's reluctance to not pardon the debt created strains in the relationship between the two Arab countries. During the late 1989, several official meetings were held between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi leaders but they were unable to break the ice between the two. After the failure of talks, Iraq tried repaying its debts by raising the prices of oil through OPEC's oil production cuts. However, Kuwait, a member of the OPEC, prevented a global increase in petroleum prices by increasing its own petroleum production. This was seen by many in Iraq as an act of aggression, further distancing the countries apart.
 Kuwait's lucrative economy
After the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi economy was struggling to recover. Iraq's civil and military debt was higher than its state budget. On the other hand, with its vast oil reserves, Kuwait was regarded as one of the world's wealthiest and most economically stable countries. The Iraqi government clearly realized that by occupying Kuwait, it will be able to solve its financial problems. Due to its relatively small size, Kuwait was seen by Baghdad as an easy target.
 Rumaila Oil Field
The Rumaila Field lies in Iraq and Kuwait and was disputed between the two countries. During the initial years of the "oil boom", Iraq concentrated on the oil fields up north while much of Kuwait's oil drilling activity took place at the Burqan Oil Field. However, in 1989, Iraq accused Kuwait for illegally slant drilling into the Iraqi part of the Rumaila Oil Field. Iraq claimed $10 billion including $2.4 billion in compensation for the oil "stolen" from the Rumaila field in Iraq since 1980 by Kuwait's alleged slant-drilling under the Iraqi oil fields. Even though Kuwait dismissed the allegation as baseless<ref></ref>, the Iraqi government decided to retaliate to Kuwait's alleged "economic warfare" by launching a military invasion against it.
 Arab nationalism
Though Kuwait's large oil reserves are widely considered to be the main reason behind the Iraqi invasion, the Iraqi government justified its invasion by claiming that Kuwait was a natural part of Iraq carved off due to British imperialism<ref></ref>. After signing the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913, Britain split Kuwait and Iraq into two separate emirates. The Iraqi government also argued that the Kuwaiti Emir was a highly unpopular figure among the Kuwaiti populace. By overthrowing the Emir, Iraq claimed that it granted Kuwaitis greater economic and political freedom<ref></ref>.
 Iraqi-American relations
On Wednesday July 25, 1990, the American Ambassador in Iraq, April Glaspie, asked the Iraqi high command to explain the military preparations in progress, including the massing of Iraqi troops near the border. The American ambassador declared to her Iraqi interlocutor that Washington, "inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, does not have an opinion” on the disagreement which opposes Kuwait to Iraq, stating "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts". She also let Saddam Hussein know that the U.S. did not intend "to start an economic war against Iraq". These statements may have made Saddam believe he had received a diplomatic green light from the United States to invade Kuwait(New York Times, September 23, 1990).
 The invasion
On August 2, 1990 at 0200 hours, Iraq launched an invasion with four elite Iraqi Republican Guard divisions (1st Hammurabi Armoured Division, 2nd al-Medinah al-Munawera Armoured Division, 3rd Tawalkalna al-Allah Mechanized Infantry Division and 6th Nebuchadnezzar Motorized Infantry Division) and an Iraqi Army special forces units in equivalent of a full division. The main attack was conducted by the commandos deployed by helicopters and boats to attack Kuwait City, while other divisions advanced to seize the airports and two airbases.
In support of these units, the Iraqi Army deployed a squadron of Mil Mi-25 helicopter gunships, several units of Mi-8 and Mi-17 transport helicopters, as well as a squadron of Bell 412STs. The task of helicopter units was foremost to transport and support Iraqi commandos into Kuwait City, and subsequently to support the advance of ground troops. The Iraqi Air Force (IrAF) has had at least two squadrons of Sukhoi Su-22, one of Su-25K, one of Mirage F1EQ and two of MiG-23BN fighter-bombers. Main task of the IrAF was to establish air superiority through limited counter-air strikes against two main air bases, to provide close air support and reconnaissance as necessary.
In spite of months of Iraqi saber-rattling, Kuwait did not have its forces on alert and was caught unawares. The first indication of the Iraqi ground advance was from a radar-equipped aerostat that detected an Iraqi armor column moving south. Kuwaiti air, ground, and naval forces offered resistance against the Iraqis but were vastly outnumbered. In central Kuwait, the 35th Armored Brigade deployed approximately a battalion of tanks against the Iraqis and fought delaying actions near Jahra, east of Kuwait City. In the south, the 15th Armored Brigade moved immediately to evacuate its forces to Saudi Arabia. Of the small Kuwaiti Naval Force, two missile boats were able to evade capture and destruction, one of the craft sinking three Iraqi ships before flight. The Kuwait Air Force aircraft were scrambled, but approximately 20% of its aircraft were lost or captured. A few combat sorties were flown against the Iraqi forces, incurring little damage. The remaining 80% of Kuwait's aircraft were then evacuated to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, some aircraft even being flown off the highways adjacent to the bases as the runways were overrun. While these aircraft were not used in support of the subsequent Gulf War, the "Free Kuwait Air Force" assisted Saudi Arabia in patrolling the southern border with Yemen, who was considered a threat by the Saudis because of Yemen-Iraq ties.
 External links
- Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (02 August 1990)
- Saddam Sends Apology to Kuwait for Invasion December 09, 2002
- PLO apologises over Kuwait December 12, 2004